Introduction: If something needs to be done, I want to do it now. If
you are wired like me, then “guilt-free” rest is of great value.
That is why I love the Sabbath so much. I know I’m not supposed to be
working on it, and therefore I can rest without feeling guilty.
During law school it was wonderful. My diligent friends would be
studying every day in order to get the best grades. On Sabbath I did
not study law and I was blessed for it. Let’s dive into the Bible
and find out why a Sabbath rest is still a central part of God’s plan
for us!

  1. The Purpose For the Sabbath

    1. Read Exodus 20:8-11. What reason does God give for keeping
      the Sabbath? (To memorialize the fact that He created the
      heavens and earth.)

    2. Read Genesis 2:2-3. When God first created the Sabbath,
      what was His reason? (The same reason stated in Exodus –
      because God had created the world.)

    3. Try to put yourself in God’s place. We often talk about
      why we, as humans, should follow God. What is God’s view
      on this? If you were God and you were asked about why
      humans should serve you, what would you say? (Because I
      created you!)

      1. Is this in fact what God says? (Read Genesis 1:1.
        This is God’s first statement to us – that He is the

      2. Read Revelation 14:6-7. We looked at God’s claim to
        worship in the first book of the Bible. What reason
        does God give in the last book of the Bible? (The
        reason to worship God is because He is our Creator.
        In fact, this is called “the eternal gospel.”)

      3. Naves catalogs 104 Bible texts under “Creator,” where
        God either directly, or through humans, stakes His
        claim to authority over humans on the fact of His

    4. Strategy time. If you were Satan, and you were in a
      contest with God over authority over humans, what would be
      your goal? (To dilute or eliminate the basis for God’s
      claim to authority.)

      1. Do we see this happening: is the history and memorial
        to God’s claim to authority being eroded?

      2. Should this erosion matter to Christians? (Martin
        Luther said: “If I profess with the loudest voice …
        every portion of the Word of God except precisely
        that little point which the world and the devil are
        at that moment attacking, I am not confessing
        Christ…. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty
        of the soldier is proved.”)

        1. Many say the Sabbath no longer matters. If
          Martin Luther is right, then isn’t the Sabbath
          at the center of the battle between Jesus and
          the devil?

        2. If it is at the center, are we “confessing
          Christ” if we fail to take a strong stand on the
          weekly remembrance of God’s authority over

  2. Sabbath, Still Part of God’s Plan?

    1. Last week we discussed “Grace,” and found ( Romans 8:2)
      that “the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the
      law of sin and death.” Does that mean that the Ten
      Commandments (including the Sabbath command) are dead?

    2. Read Matthew 5:17-19. What does Jesus say is His purpose
      for coming to earth? (Not to abolish the Ten Commandments!
      Rather, He came to “fulfill them.” I must not teach others
      to break the commandments.)

      1. What does that mean – to fulfill? (We learned last
        week that Jesus came and succeeded where Adam failed
        -in keeping God’s law. But, we also learned that this
        is no license ( Romans 6:1) to sin and that we are
        charged with living a life “in accordance with the
        Spirit.” Romans 8:5. This is consistent with Jesus’
        statement that we should never teach anyone to break
        the commandments.)

    3. Read Colossians 2:16-17. So far, we have seen that the
      Sabbath is at the center of the conflict with Satan
      because it symbolizes God’s authority as our Creator. Is
      Paul saying here that the Sabbath does not matter? Will
      Paul be “least” in the kingdom of heaven?(Paul seems to be
      quoting roughly from Hosea 2:11. There, the reference is
      to the Jewish feasts which were also called “Sabbaths.”
      Indeed, the Greek word translated “Sabbath” in Colossians
      2:16 is really the plural: “Sabbaths.” Many translations
      (but not the NIV) translate the term “Sabbaths.”)

      1. What does Paul mean by calling the Sabbaths a “shadow
        of the things that were to come?” (Since Jesus
        fulfilled the Old Testament sanctuary service, it
        logically follows that the Jewish feast Sabbaths,
        which were part of the sacrificial system, were
        fulfilled. This would not be true of the weekly
        Sabbath which was the memorial to creation, and not
        part of the sanctuary service.)

      2. Many Bible commentators, especially the older
        commentaries, agree with my argument that Colossians
        2 does not refer to the weekly Sabbath. Consider what
        Barnes Notes says on this text (and this is typical
        of others). He first points out that the term is
        plural and therefore refers to the Hebrew festivals,
        and then he continues: “No part of the moral law – no
        one of the ten commandments could be spoken of as ‘a
        shadow of good things to come.’ These commandments
        are, from the nature of moral law, of perpetual and
        universal obligation.”)

    4. Read Hebrews 4:8-11. In recent years some have begun to
      argue that since the resurrection we have entered the
      “Sabbath” age. Every day is Sabbath. What would be the
      logical result of that argument? (You would either not
      worship on any day or you would worship on every day.)

      1. What does Hebrews suggest about a regular time of
        meeting to worship God? (Read Hebrews 10:25. It tells
        us that we should regularly meet together.)

      2. If you were celebrating living in the “Sabbath age,”
        and you thought you should meet regularly to worship
        your Creator, what day would you logically choose?
        (Re-read Hebrews 4:9-10. If we are to enter God’s
        rest, just as He did, we would worship on Saturday!
        It is the only logical conclusion.)

    5. Some argue, not based on any command from God found in the
      Bible, that Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday changed
      everything about the Sabbath. Do followers of Jesus have
      any reason to think that is true?

      1. What day was Jesus crucified? (Read Mark 15:42-44.

      2. Read Matthew 27:50-52. Is there any reason why Jesus
        could not have immediately come to life, and in plain
        sight of everyone lifted off from the cross in
        extraordinary power and glory to be with His Father?

        1. If you, as a parent, saw your child tortured and
          beaten, would you not want to come immediately
          to the rescue?

        2. If you, as a parent, saw your child win the most
          important contest in the universe, would you
          want to wait a minute, much less a whole day, to
          put your arms around your child in praise and

        3. Why did Jesus wait? Against all natural
          instinct, why did He and the Father wait? (Jesus
          rested on Sabbath for the same reason He rested
          on Sabbath after He created the world. He was
          memorializing His original work of creation and
          now His latest work to rescue His creation from

  3. Keeping the Sabbath

    1. In light of its historical background, how would you keep
      the Sabbath? (It is a day to pull back from the work and
      cares of the world and celebrate our Creator and Redeemer!
      It is a special day of praise and worship.)

    2. Read Mark 2:23-28. Is Jesus saying that because David
      violated the consecrated bread law the disciples can
      violate the no working on Sabbath law? (No. Jesus is
      saying that Sabbath was intended for the good of humans.
      The blessing of humans, not niggling rules and
      regulations, is the proper purpose of the Sabbath.)

    3. Friend, where do you stand in the battle over the
      authority of God? Are you a faithful and loyal soldier on
      the matters most in dispute? If not, you are missing one
      of God’s greatest blessings for humanity! Why not
      determine right now to be faithful and blessed when it
      comes to the Sabbath?

  4. Next week: Heaven.